Webb, Haren selected to All-Star team
Two pitchers to represent Diamondbacks on July 15
PHOENIX -- The rotation has been the unquestioned strength for the D-backs this year, so it's no surprise that Arizona's two All-Star Game representatives will be starting pitchers Brandon Webb and Dan Haren.
Webb was elected by a vote of the players, while Haren was selected by National League manager Clint Hurdle.
"The 'Dynamic Duo in the Desert' are here," Webb said with a smile as he and Haren entered the interview room to discuss their selection.
Both said being selected was an even bigger honor this year given that the game will be played in historic Yankee Stadium. It will be the final All-Star Game ever held there as the Yankees are set to move into a new park next door in 2009.
"I wanted to make this because I thought this was going to be pretty special being in New York the last year of Yankee Stadium," Webb said. "So it was kind of a goal of mine to make it, even when I first heard about it last year, probably about this time, that it was going to be in Yankee Stadium. Just to be able to make it and represent the Diamondbacks and the National League there in Yankee Stadium. It's going to be a madhouse, it's going to be fun."
Haren's parents are from New York, his sister went to NYU and he has friends throughout the city.
"The buzz in the city, just when we traveled there to play the Mets, we saw a lot of signs and stuff and read a lot about ticket prices and hotels out there," Haren said. "It's going to be crazy, but New York's crazy as it is so I can't imagine."
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. MST. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
It's the third straight year that Webb has been selected. The right-hander tossed a scoreless inning in the 2006 game in Pittsburgh and did not pitch in last year's game, which was held in San Francisco.
Webb, who won the NL Cy Young Award in 2006 and finished second in the voting last year, captured attention earlier this year when he won his first nine starts of the year, compiling a 2.56 ERA. It was the best opening to a season by a starting pitcher since San Diego's Andy Hawkins won his first 10 of the 1985 season.
Not surprisingly, after that start, he leads the league with 12 wins to go along with just four defeats and a 3.43 ERA in 18 starts.
Haren started last year's All-Star Game for the American League while he was a member of the Oakland A's. The right-hander was dealt to Arizona last December in an eight-player deal that saw the D-backs ship off six prospects.
Despite the high cost, the trade has paid dividends for the D-backs. Haren is 8-5 with a 2.83 ERA and has gotten better as the season has gone on. He was named NL Pitcher of the Month for June after going 3-0 with a 1.32 ERA.
"Obviously, those guys have done well over there," D-backs GM Josh Byrnes said of the players dealt to Oakland. "But it's hard to find a Danny Haren and the job he's done for us has been what we hoped for."
Haren could easily have more wins with better offensive support. He leads NL starters with a 5.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is tops in fewest walks per nine innings with 1.53 and WHIP at 0.98. In his five no-decisions this year, he has a 2.81 ERA.
"Other than his win-loss numbers, I don't think that there's a better pitcher in baseball," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.
Webb most likely will not be available to start the All-Star Game given that if the D-backs rotation holds true, he will start the final game before the All-Star break. Melvin juggled his rotation a bit in order to get Webb two starts rather than just one before the All-Star break.
It's possible that Webb could still pitch in the game, though, as Tuesday would be his day to throw in between starts, so an inning of work is not out of the question.
Haren, meanwhile, is scheduled to start on Thursday, which would put him in perfect alignment with starting should Hurdle look beyond Haren's low win total when choosing a starter.
"I don't know what the chances are. It probably depends on how the pitching lines up," Haren said. "I'll have a lot of rest. Starting it last year was very nerve-wracking. Once it was over with, I could sit back and enjoy the game. If I didn't start it, it would probably feel a little different coming out of the bullpen, but either way the adrenaline is extremely high, so a lot of it is just about controlling your emotions."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.